Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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ALP Policy Statement Print E-mail

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The following policy statement has been provided by Andrew Fraser MP, Deputy Premier, on behalf of the ALP.

Thank you for providing us with an opportunity to provide a statement for publication in Hearsay.

The Bligh Labor team believes an open and accessible justice system is the cornerstone of a safe, just and supportive society.

To this end, the Bligh Government has a strong record of delivering reform to both our legal system and our laws.

We have welcomed the opportunity to partner with the Bar Association in delivering many of these reforms, and a re-elected Bligh Government commits continuing to engage with the Bar Association in a meaningful way.

In particular, the fee reforms for Barristers engaging in Government work has been the outcome of a robust consultative process between the Bligh Government and BAQ.

The new structure, which will commence on 1 July 2012, abolishes the outdated itemised Crown Law barrister fee scale and rates and introduces a simplified daily and hourly fee structure, providing benefits and clarity to Queensland barristers.

The Bligh Government recognises that the current arrangements are inequitable and do not recognise the experience and specialisation of barristers representing the State nor the complexity of the legal work involved.

With a view to setting consistent rates for government legal work, each barrister will be allocated an ‘approved government rate’ or individual rate up to the maximum government rate of:

  • $5,000 per day (including GST) for a Senior Barrister
  • $3,000 per day (including GST) for a Junior Barrister

Individual government departments will be able to negotiate a higher fee, within the set maximums, for an exceptional case involving complexity, sensitivity or urgency, through approval of the relevant departmental Director-General.

Further, some exceptional cases may require, on a ‘one-off’ basis, a rate above the prescribed maximum rate which can be approved by the Attorney-General.

A re-elected Bligh Government will continue to seek the learned views of the Bar on such reforms that impact the profession.

In particular, as the National Legal Profession Reform process continues a re-elected Bligh Government will engage with the Bar to ensure the final legislation meets local needs.

The Bligh Government is a strong supporter of the National Legal Profession approach and has worked cooperatively with the other states to achieve that.

However, we have always made our position very clear that ultimately our final commitment will be based upon satisfaction by the local legal profession with the eventual model.

Only a re-elected Bligh Labor Government can make a meaningful commitment to continuing to prioritise and improve social justice and access to justice in Queensland.

This will include partnering with the Bar Association, as practitioners in the justice system, to address issues such as ensuring that Queensland Courts, Tribunals and organisations like Legal Aid Queensland are adequately resourced and efficiently run.

We look forward to continuing the strong consultative relationship with the Bar Association under a re-elected Bligh Labor Government.

We look forward to working with you and your team in the future.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Fraser MP

Deputy Premier


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